[UCP Books]: Messages from Islands

“Combining a personal memoir with serious discussion of a scientific subject is a difficult literary trick. The Finnish biologist Hanski succeeded with aplomb in his last book. . . . Messages from Islands does not shy away from the challenges that face humanity or the threats to biodiversity. Yet it is an uplifting read, revealing the author’s humanity and deep love of the natural world. I cannot think of a better book to give to a general reader who wants an insight into modern ecology and how ecologists go about their trade.”
—H. Charles J. Godfray, Nature



A Global Biodiversity Tour
By Ilkka Hanski

Domestic Publication Date: December 14, 2016 International Publication Date: January 9, 2017
272 pages | 6 x 9 | 54 halftones, 2 tables | ISBN-13: 978-0-226-40644-2 | Paper $32.50/₤23.00


When Finnish biologist Ilkka Hanski passed away this spring, the world lost one of its most creative ecological thinkers. But in this book—Hanski’s last—we have the opportunity to experience the development of Hanski’s groundbreaking ideas first hand. Beginning each chapter on a particular island, Hanski dives into reflections on his own field studies before going on to pursue a variety of ecological questions. The world’s largest island, Greenland, for instance, is the starting point for a journey into the benefits that humankind acquires from biodiversity, including the staggering biodiversity of microbes in the ecosystems that are closest to us—the ecosystems in our guts, in our respiratory tracts, and under our skin. At times moving and always illuminating, Messages from Islands is an extraordinary capstone achievement.

Ilkka Hanski (1953‒2016) was professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and director of the Metapopulation Research Centre at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of Metapopulation Ecology, among several monographs and edited works. To view Hanski’s farewell lecture on Messages from Islands, please visit, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IU9ZtEdgWU.

Please contact Nicholas Lilly at (773) 702-7490 or nlilly@uchicago.edu for more information.

Further praise for Messages from Islands

“Hanski’s book is an engaging example of an unusual genre—a
personal journal through a professional landscape. Join him on his
travels, share his insights and wisdom, and learn the basic
principles of population ecology.”
—Peter R. Grant and B. Rosemary Grant,
coauthors of 40 Years of Evolution: Darwin’s Finches on Daphne Major Island

“Hanski’s book is an elegant, engaging, and remarkably thorough
description of the scope and wonderfully intricate details of
biodiversity, as well as what we must do to save it.”
—Daniel Simberloff,
University of Tennessee

“Islands gave Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace critical
clues about evolution. Hanski shows they are a gift that still
spawns compelling questions.”
—Stuart L. Pimm,
coauthor of Patterns in Nature: The Analysis of Species Co-Occurrences


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